ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves need Craig Kimbrel, perhaps now more than ever.
According to Braves.com beat reporter Mark Bowman, closer Arodys Vizcaino underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on Wednesday.
As such, Atlanta's erratic corps of bullpen arms has even less stability, now that Vizcaino (three-year numbers: 2.53 ERA, 31 saves, 110/39 K-BB rate) won't be an asset for the season's final five months.
The obvious reflex response involves signing Kimbrel, a onetime Braves star (1.43 cumulative ERA from 2010-14) and the No. 1 free agent still left on the board.
However, there's speculated competition for Kimbrel's services, namely the Brewers, who might be an elite bullpen arm away from reaching the World Series.
During the offseason, there were reports of Kimbrel's representation seeking a six-year, $100 million deal in free agency. But with roughly one-tenth of the season already in the books, Kimbrel's price tag would likely come down, when discussing a short-term deal.
In the interim, A.J. Minter will likely become the Braves' primary closer.
On Tuesday night, the Braves squandered a 5-2 lead against the Diamondbacks, only to fall late, 9-6.
In the ninth inning, with the game tied at 6, Minter surrendered one walk, two hits and three runs to Arizona, thus taking the loss for the night.
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